Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

There's no moral equivalency between the Israeli and Palestinian 'narratives'

James W. Dale makes a welcome point in his commentary about the divestment campaign against Israel ("Choosing to stay engaged: Anti-Israel measures like divestment are not the best way to seek justice for Palestinians," May 4).

It is, as he says, vital that mainline churches, including his own Presbyterian Church, understand that anti-Israel "divestment" campaigns render their proponents destructive and deny them a voice at the table.

"Divestment" echoes both the Nazi boycott and impoverishment of German Jews and the Arab League's economic boycott of Israel.

Unfortunately, Pastor Dale offers a highly selective reading of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — even as he warns against doing so. He writes of "the ongoing travesty of the occupation" and claims that the Palestinian Arabs "continue to demand justice from the Israelis, especially the end of the occupation."

But if Palestinian leaders truly wanted to end the "occupation," why did they reject Israel's offers of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — with eastern Jerusalem as its capital — in exchange for peace, in 2000, 2001 and 2008?

Today, there is no Israeli occupation of Gaza, which Hamas attempts to run as an Islamic theocracy. The Palestinian Authority, headed by Fatah, administers daily life of West Bank Arabs, suppressing free speech and the right of assembly in the process.

Pastor Dale warns against "such a simplistic solution" as divestment, but asserts "both narratives at work in Israel and Palestine trade in victimhood" and "each side stakes its credibility on being the bigger victim."

The implied equivalency is itself simplistic, avoiding moral distinctions. Israel built the West Bank security barrier after Palestinian terrorists murdered more than 1,000 Israelis — Jews and Arabs alike. Palestinian Authority television to this day continues to celebrate the perpetrators of terrorist crimes.

By all means let us deal with the complexity of the conflict, hoping to untangle the threads of an equitable peace. But if we insist there is no cause and effect, only equivalent "narratives," we'll never recognize the threads of responsibility for either the bloodshed or for peaceful coexistence.

Eric Rozenman, Washington

The writer is Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Israel has acted responsibly against Hamas [Letter]

    Israel has acted responsibly against Hamas [Letter]

    The recent letter writer critical of Israeli actions in Gaza ("Israel committed war crimes during its invasion of Gaza," Oct. 1) conveniently forgets the origins of the Gaza conflict and the effort that Israel made to reduce civilian casualties. Hamas for the last eight years has been firing rockets...

  • Hopkins is hypocritical on academic freedom

    Hopkins is hypocritical on academic freedom

    On Sept. 26, an interdisciplinary cohort of students, faculty and staff at Johns Hopkins University answered President Ronald Daniel's call to join the conversation on academic freedom, which he wrote, "deserves dialogue and debate" ("Hopkins welcomes debate on academic freedom," Feb. 26). After...

  • Why isn't Israel joining the fight against ISIS?

    Why isn't Israel joining the fight against ISIS?

    President Barack Obama's ISIS war plan includes seeking support from Arab nations and others in the battle in Iraq and Syria, but why is Israel sitting the war out when both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and our government have proclaimed Israel to be our staunchest ally? Is it too much for...

  • Why African-Americans don't support Israel

    Why African-Americans don't support Israel

    Unfortunately, many African Americans as well as the general population do not support Israel because of a lack of knowledge about the origins and the history of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors ("Why aren't more African Americans supporting Israel?" Oct. 20).

  • Why Israel isn't rushing to fight ISIS

    Why Israel isn't rushing to fight ISIS

    Letter writer Fred Lebert asks why Israel hasn't joined the fight against ISIS ("Why isn't Israel joining the fight against ISIS?" Oct. 21).

  • Act of terrorism ignored

    Act of terrorism ignored

    It is deplorable that The Sun, which was so out front depicting the casualties and damage this summer in Gaza during the war started by Hamas, decided to bury news of the murder of a Jewish baby (and American citizen) by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem at the bottom of Page 8 ("Baby killed...

  • GOP Senate would support Israel

    GOP Senate would support Israel

    The hostile comments from the Obama administration toward Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu show a terrible glimpse of what two more years of a Democratic-run U.S. Senate would be like ("Netanyahu fumes at U.S. official's reported profane insult," Oct. 30). The stakes could not be any...

  • Tragedy in Jerusalem

    Tragedy in Jerusalem

    There can be no excuse, no explanation, no reasoned or even plausible justification for the horrific attack on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday that left four rabbis and an Israeli police officer dead. The assailants, two Palestinian militants armed with axes, meat cleavers and a gun who entered the...